These candy apples make the perfect snack for Halloween or Bonfire Night. Toffee Apples are coated in a crunchy layer of toffee that cracks when bitten into. They're so good that they aren’t only for the kids!
Toffee Apples are a treat lodged in most of our memories of eating them as a kid wrapped warm with our mitts on and crunching into them whilst kicking Autumnal leaves. They are a firm favourite at Halloween. You can now make this delectable treat at home and customise them to suit your taste!
If you love smaller snacks to share with family and friends, then you’ll love this Apple Cider Chocolate Toffee, Chocolate Chip Scones and Triple Chocolate Madeleines. They're perfect for gifting during the holiday season.
❓ What are Toffee Apples?
Toffee Apples are whole apples dipped into toffee until fully coated. Once cooled, the toffee provides a golden hard shell surrounding the apple. The shell coating has to be bitten to crunch your way through to the apple inside.
Typically eaten over Halloween, Guy Fawkes night or Bon Fire Night, Toffee Apples are a super popular kids' treat!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Classic Halloween/bonfire night treat. Re-live your childhood or create lasting memories for your own children and friends with this classic toffee apple recipe.
- Only a handful of ingredients are needed. The ingredients list is super short, and you’ll most likely have what you need already!
- Made in less than 45 minutes. These can be made from start to finish in 45 minutes, but you definitely don’t want to rush the process.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
As you can see, the ingredients list is very short for these Toffee Apples, and you probably have everything on hand already.
- Apples - You can use whatever apple you like. If you like the crisp tartness of a Granny Smith Apple, then go for that. I love the sweet yet tart notes of a Braeburn Apple alongside the toffee.
- Sugar - White or golden sugar works well. I prefer to use caster (super-fine) sugar, which dissolves quicker, but if granulated is all you have, then use that.
- Water - Allows the sugar to dissolve and evaporates before the sugar turns to toffee.
- Golden Syrup - Provides added flavour to the toffee and helps prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
- White vinegar - The acid element also helps prevent crystallisation from happening. Alternatively, use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
- Pretzels and Hazelnuts (optional) - These two ingredients are an optional extra. But I adore the toasty notes of crushed pretzels or the nutty crunch of chopped hazelnuts with the toffee and apples. Make sure the hazelnuts are finely chopped and pretzels crushed and in a bowl before you start making the toffee.
Here’s the thing about these... you can totally dip these Homemade Toffee Apples into whatever you want. They are perfectly customisable! Here are other things you might prefer to dip them into.
- Mini marshmallows
- Melted chocolate
- Crushed Graham Crackers or Digestives
- Crushed oreo cookies
- Chopped pecans with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt.
What would you choose? Me? Chocolate Toffee Apples dipped in salted pecans! Ugh, dreamy!
Or you could even dip some pears into toffee as a fun alternative.
🥣 Equipment You’ll Need
The most important part of making this recipe is the need to be organised. Toffee can be incredibly dangerous due to its high temperature. This is not the time to multitask. So, be prepared and set everything out that you’ll need before starting.
- Popsicle sticks or thick skewers: This allows you to dip the apples into the toffee without the risk of burning yourself.
- Large bowl and tongs: Before making the toffee, the apple wax coating needs to be removed. The bowl and tongs allow us to do this safely.
- High-sided saucepan: To make the toffee in.
- Pastry brush: Brush away any sugar crystals from forming around the edge of the pan.
- Candy Thermometer: The most accurate way to know when the sugar is at the hard crack stage is with a candy thermometer. Notes below if you don’t have one.
- Baking tray: Line a baking tray with paper and have it on hand to place the dipped apples immediately on the paper to harden.
👩🏻🍳 How To Make Toffee Apples
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Homemade Toffee Apples only require a few steps to make but get organised and prep your ingredients. We call this mise-en-place. This technique goes a long way in today's recipe.
Prepare the Apples
STEP 1. De-wax the apples. The wax coating on the skin of the apples will prevent the toffee from holding onto the skin and creating that coverage that we all love. So we have to remove it.
Into a large bowl, add boiling water. Dunk the apples in for a couple of seconds. Remove with tongs and dry thoroughly by rubbing the skin with a tea towel (Images 1 & 2).
STEP 2. Push popsicle sticks into the apples. I read a lot of recipes that say to remove the stem of the apple first, but I don’t see this as necessary - so only remove it if you want to. Push the popsicle sticks into the apple (Image 3).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the apples on top, and set the apples near your stovetop (Image 4).
Make the Toffee
STEP 3. Dissolve sugar into the water. In a medium saucepan, set over medium to low heat, add the water and sugar (Image 5).
Stir until the sugar has dissolved. The sugar needs to dissolve nice and slowly before it starts to boil to prevent any crystallisation.
If any sugar crystals do form on the edge of the sugar syrup, use a wet pastry brush to brush them and help dissolve them.
STEP 4. Add golden syrup and vinegar. Add the golden syrup and vinegar, give the sugar mixture a quick stir with a spoon to combine it and then don’t stir anymore; only swirl the pan as needed (Image 6).
Add the candy thermometer to the saucepan, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil until the temperature reads 150°C (302°F) on a sugar thermometer which is the hard crack stage (Image 7 & 8).
This is the correct temperature for the sugar syrup to set around the fruit and crack when bitten into. The mixture will turn lovely and golden.
STEP 5. Coat the apples in toffee. Now the fun bit! Remove the pan from the heat and wait for the bubbles to calm down. This will ensure a smooth glass-like surface. If the toffee is still bubbling, you’ll see lots of tiny bubbles all over the apples.
Tilt the saucepan to form a deep well of toffee and work quickly and carefully; using the popsicle stick to hold the apple, dip it in the toffee and rotate it to coat. Lift the apple out of the toffee and let it drip for ten seconds (Image 9 & 10).
After the third apple, the toffee didn't coat the subsequent apples so well as it started to thicken. At this point, place the pan back onto a low heat on your stove and heat it again to the correct temp.
And that’s it! After a couple of minutes, the toffee will cool and set, and then the Toffee Apples are good to eat!
Option: Place the dipped apple directly onto the baking tray or dip the toffee apple into the bowl of chopped nuts or crushed pretzels and then place it on the tray. The toffee sets fast, so work quickly to coat!
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Grease-free saucepan. Minimise the risk of sugar crystallising by having a grease-free pan. Wipe with vinegar and then rinse with water to remove any residual grease.
- Heat the sugar slowly. Whilst the water is heating up, and the sugar is dissolving, don’t let it bubble.
- Don’t have a candy thermometer? Don’t worry! Simply drop a half spoonful of toffee into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly. If it doesn’t, and the toffee is malleable, then the sugar needs more heating.
- Wait for the bubbling to stop before dipping the toffee apples- the only way to ensure that smooth glass-like finish.
- Easily clean the dried toffee. It’s much simpler than you imagine. Simply soak all the equipment in hot water, and the toffee dissolves. That’s it!
📋 Recipe FAQs
Both toffee and caramel are a type of candy, but they have very different consistency and tastes. Caramel is made from sugar but also butter and cream, which creates a soft, chewy coating around the apple. The flavour has sweet, well-rounded buttery undertones.
Toffee, on the other hand, is predominantly made with sugar which results in a hard exterior around the apple.
That's simply down to adding red food colouring into the toffee. Add a couple of drops of food colouring into the toffee when it reaches the hard crack stage. Give it a swirl to mix in, and then remove the pan off the heat to let the bubbles subside. Dip the apples as per the instructions, and you'll have red toffee apples.
For a Halloween twist, add black food colouring to the toffee for a ghoulish feel! Spooky! Check out the Halloween Toffee Apples on My Goodness Kitchen for her fabulous rendition!
In the States, they're called Candy Apples and are dipped in red toffee and chopped peanuts and wrapped individually in cellophane.
They are best eaten on the same day for that perfect signature crack.
If you do need to store them, then wrap them tightly in parchment paper or cellophane and store them at room temperature (never in the refrigerator) for up to one day. Note: the toffee coating will soften over time.
I don't recommend freezing them.
🍂 More Fall Recipes You'll Love
If you've tried this Homemade Toffee Apples Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a 🌟 star rating whilst you're there!
Homemade Toffee Apples Recipe
- 8 apples
- 60 ml water
- 400 g caster sugar
- 80 g golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 25 g pretzels (optional), crushed
- 75 g toasted hazelnuts (optional), finely chopped
Prepare your tools and weigh out ingredients
Prepare the apples
- De-wax the apples. Pour boiling water into a medium bowl. Dunk the apples for few seconds in the water. Dry the fruit thoroughly with a tea towel. This allows the toffee to stick to the skin and coat evenly.
- Push popsicle sticks into the apples. Push a popsicle stick down into the centre of the apple core on each of the apples. Tap into place if need be with a rolling pin. Line a baking tray with parchment and place apples near to the stovetop.
Make the toffee
- Dissolve sugar into the water. In a medium heavy-based saucepan, add water and the sugar and heat gently on low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. If sugar crystals form around the edge, use a wet pastry brush to wipe down the side and dissolve the sugar.
- Add golden syrup and vinegar. Add the golden syrup and vinegar and give it a quick stir to combine. Then swirl the pan until the sugar is at a simmer.Add the candy thermometer, increase the heat to medium and bring to a rolling boil until the temperature on the thermometer reads 150°C (302°F) (hard crack stage), and the toffee is deep amber. This can take approximately ten minutes - but stay with the pan as the temperature can jump quickly.
- Coat the apples in toffee. Once at temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat and wait for the bubbles to subside. Tilt the saucepan to create a pool of toffee, and with the other hand holding the popsicle stick, dunk the apple rotating it in the pan until fully coated. Lift the apple out of the toffee and let the excess drip off for ten seconds, and then immediately dip it into the chopped hazelnuts or pretzels and place it on the baking sheet upright to harden. It will take only a couple of minutes to set. Repeat with remaining apples. Note: warm toffee if it starts to harden.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
This post was originally published in October 2019 but has been updated with new photos, new content and an updated recipe in Sept 2022.